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Michael A. Israetel1,Chris MacDonald2, Hugh S. Lamont3, Michael Ramsey4, Satoshi Mizuguchi4 &Michael H. Stone4; 1University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO; 2Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina; 3California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California; 4East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Athletes tend differ physically from both non-athletes and each other. In particular, differences between athletes of differing rank and athletic performance ability have been documented in a variety of sports. One of these differences is in body composition. While there is a rich literature on the subject, the relationship between measures of body composition and various performance measures has not been well studied in Division 1 Athletes. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between muscularity (as measured via lean body mass), fat stores (as measured by percent body fat) and several other sport-related fitness characteristics, including strength, power, and vertical jump height. METHODS: Eighty Division I collegiate athletes were assessed over the course of two days in various strength, power, speed, and body composition tests. Data from these tests was assessed via correlation to establish basic relationships. Additionally, athletes were separated into the “highest” and “lowest” groups (according to their lean body mass to percent fat ratio), and several statistical tests were applied to the groups in order to attempt to ascertain the magnitude of the relationships between body composition and other fitness characteristics measured. RESULTS: Results indicated that athletes with more lean body mass and less body fat tend to be relatively stronger (force scaled to body mass of 54.2N∙kg-1 vs. 49.4 N∙kg-1, p<0.05), more powerful (CMJ peak power per body mass 68.3W∙kg-1 vs. 58.0 W∙kg-1, p<0.05) and jump higher than their counterparts (CMJ height 35.1cm vs. 29.7cm, p<0.05). CONCLUSION: These findings reinforce the importance of body composition in athletic performance. From a practical standpoint, the results of this study suggest that body composition advantages (more muscle, less fat) may be associated with higher relative strength, power, and vertical jumping abilities. Strength and conditioning programs at the Division 1 level may benefit from monitoring and attempting to improve the body composition of their athletes.

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